A day-trip to Chartres

28Mar11

Long before I arrived in France, I decided that today I’d go to Chartres.

Chartres is a beautiful little medieval city about 70 miles outside of Paris. To get there, first I had to hop the métro to the Gare Montparnasse train station. This conductor quietly rehearsed his score on the way.

Then, I had to navigate the maze-like train station, figure out where to buy my tickets, find the train, and be on board—40 minutes from the moment I walked out my apartment’s door.

I couldn’t believe I’d made it as I settled in behind some Japanese tourists, with just two minutes to spare.

The hour-long trip flew by as quickly as the scenery outside. Before I knew it, I could see the cathedral’s uneven spires. But first I needed lunch. Sushi! Mmmm.

Many of Chartres’ old buildings attest to the city’s influential past. I loved the architectural details (even if not all of them were authentic)  …

… the people-watching …

… and the ancient, winding streets.

But the main reason I came to Chartres was to see its magnificent cathedral. It boggles the mind to think of the resources that went into building it, and to consider what it must have been like in the 1400 or 1500s to see the cathedral’s imposing silhouette on the horizon.

Chartres’ claim to fame is its stained-glass windows. Although the panels on both ends of the nave were unfortunately covered up for restoration, there was still plenty of the famous “Chartres blue” to go around.

One window had lost a few tiny sections of its stained glass. I loved the way that the light streamed through the holes.

I also climbed some 400 stone steps …

… for a spectacular view from the top.

Not a bad way to spend a day outside Paris.

Want to see more? Here’s the full gallery:

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Back with more tomorrow …



5 Responses to “A day-trip to Chartres”

  1. 1 Lis

    This is the closest I will ever probably get to visiting Europe. Thank you so much, H. You have a beautiful eye. 🙂

    • 2 hmunro

      Lis! You’re so kind. Thank you so much for continuing to read … I’m really honored that you like my photos. 🙂

  2. Bravo pour tes photos !!!
    Superbe composition vu de haut pour la terrasse de café, j’aime beaucoup…

    MO 75.

    • 4 hmunro

      Salut, mon cher Msr. Sunshine! Merci mille pour tes mots si douces. Je n’etait guère contente avec les photos que j’ai pris à Chartres, donc je suis ravie de savoir que tu les aimes. Et quelle coindience de trouver ton message: Je viens de regarder les belles photos que tu m’as donné, et je pensais que je serais jamais si forte un photographe comme toi. Mais, comme nous avons parlé le dimanche … quelque fois la doute en soi-même peut nous encourager a agrandir. Merci mille pour ton commentaire, et je te souhaite une belle journée. 🙂 Mrs. Sunshine

  3. 5 dancingbeastie

    You can be more than content with these photos, I would have said! I especially like the lantern in front of the gabled window, and the red-cheeked chap at the Tabac. Best of all, though, is that wonderful shot of the light streaming through the cathedral window. I vaguely remember doing a paper on the symbolism of Chartres blue at university. It’s years since I visited Chartres, though: glorious to see it again.


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